Crew Releases 49 Marlin in One Day

A massive bait ball of sardines attracted both marlin and anglers.

49 Marlin Flags

49 Marlin Flags

Screenshot courtesy of

A family aboard the sport-fisher Wave Runner III, fishing off Virginia Beach, recently released 49 white marlin in a single day, qualifying as one of the most memorable marlin trips ever off the U.S. East Coast.

Sure, there's no way to truly prove it was one of the best marlin days ever, but anytime a family of non-tournament, non-professional anglers hook and release that many marlin — that's a great day of fishing.

The Downs family, of Virginia Beach, were fishing with Capt. Pat Foster and mate Adrian Colaprete when they came upon a bait ball of sardines being tormented by white marlin. The crew ditched the trolling tackle and instead sight-cast to the mayhem with spinning gear and sardines. Together, they released almost half-a-hundred fish.

After browsing social media, we noticed that some commenters wanted to discount the great day of fishing because they weren't trolling (a more traditional fishing tactic for marlin).

"The naysayers have me scratching my head," Foster told Lee Tolliver at The Virginian-Pilot. "We weren't in a tournament, and we were never in anybody else's way. We were just trying to show our customers a good time."

Still, most of us would love to come across this offshore scenario. Bait balls surrounded by marlin only happen in places like Baja Mexico and Panama, right? I (and I'm sure others) will definitely have to rethink this misconception.

"It's a very exciting way to fish and I'd love to do it again," said Jayme Downs to The Virginian-Pilot. "Being able to see the fish and watch them attack the baits [was] thrilling. I'd never seen it like this."